2 Timothy 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
Paul’s letters to Timothy were exhortations to faith and boldness in the face of declining and absent love to Christ in the church at Ephesus.
Love is the willed tendency of the heart for the good of another. Love to Christ is a true pillar of our lives….it strengthens and encourages us.
And our love to Christ, must be guarded by righteousness in life and faith…or it becomes a mere human emotion and affection….which goes up and down.
(We find in Revelation 2:4 that they were corrected by Christ for “having left their first love”.)
The church at Ephesus had let in those that preached that they should add the law to grace…..and other doctrines other than the doctrine of grace, which Paul had preached.
And now in the second letter, we see that this church….so flourishing in love and grace…..who were devoted to Paul….was now turned away from him and his doctrine….even as he warned them about. (Acts 20:28-30, 2 Timothy 1:15)
True love and faithfulness to Christ….are the barometers of a Christians spirituality.
Then he speaks of the last days….again he is speaking of those that profess to be Christians….for in the world these characteristics are always there.
The thing that manifests the last days….is the indulgence of these lusts….while there is a “form of godliness”.
2 Timothy 3:2-5 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
We often see people questioning the power of Christianity….they say it makes no change in people’s lives….nor does it control the evil of men’s hearts.
But it is only the power of Christ’s grace in the heart that changes men from rebels,…to lovers of God. From running after sin, to running from it…to God.
Many are learning…their heads might be expanding….
….but their personal knowledge of Christ Jesus, and His salvation to the uttermost (for He is Truth)…for themselves, is not. They are “never able” because they are not yielding to the Truth about themselves.
True righteousness is conforming to the Truth for ourselves through HIs Word and Holy Spirit…by God’s grace.
This is Paul’s doctrine of grace…the grace of God which he had experienced so greatly.
It is not an outward conforming to rituals….no matter how right….but an inward salvation (“Ye must be born again” John 3:7)…..salvation from sin and self.
2 Timothy 3:7-8 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
Jannes and Jambres were the Egyptian sorcerers (Exodus 7:11) who, by imitation of the miracles Moses did, kept Pharaoh from seeing the truth.
But their imitations only increased the judgements (they could turn water to blood, but not the blood back to water….they could bring up frogs, but not get rid of them)….they could not give deliverance from God judgements.
So are the imitators of righteousness. They go to church, sing praises,…..but they can not duplicate the power of Jesus Christ’s salvation in their lives…
…for the power of the grace of God through HIs Word and by His Holy Spirit…is not pretense….but true change in attitude, and character.
We have a new nature….Christ’s life is in our life…and we love His Word and Will.
Paul had sent Timothy to Ephesus to correct and reprove the errors that came in….and now, though Paul himself was not going to live much longer….yet he pointed Timothy….and us….to the scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Doctrine…or the Truth about Christ Jesus,…and the faith and grace He provides.
(Paul knew this doctrine well…..the Lord Jesus Christ knocked him down when he was going his own way…..gave light and mercy….and instructed him in the grace which never leaves us to ourselves….but continually is flowing from Christ to us….as we yield to it, and use it.)
As we apply this truth to ourselves….we have reproof…the Word shows us where we are going astray.
And with reproof, we have correction….which includes the needed grace (ability) to change.
And with change in character, we receive instruction as to where, and how to walk with the Lord…through all that comes.
That we may be perfect….complete….having all the past seen to, and looking forward to what is next in our walk….with the Lord…
….throughly furnished…made able for every good work….no matter how small or large….we will be furnished for it.
These days are perilous times…..
Let us be warned……not like the Ephesians, who heard Paul’s warning….yet stopped watching; and so were led astray.
Let us be faithful to Christ Jesus….use the grace given, and continue in His Word.